Two earrings: a parable of lost and found


By Kathy Berken
On Deck Column

When one of my earrings flew off my ear in my car one winter day as a hoop attached itself to my coat zipper, I heard the little metal back piece drop into my cup holder. I figured the earring had to be close by. I never found it — and that was over four years ago. I have the sinking feeling that this favorite pair will remain separated.

A few weeks ago, I wore a pair of recently restored earrings I bought in college in the late ‘60s. The tiny, faded-blue-and-light-tan wooden beads threaded onto curly black wires matched my hippie-style bell-bottom jeans, blouses with pointy collars and the granny-square vest my mom crocheted. More than 20 years ago, one of the strands of beads slipped off the wire and disappeared. I was so sad! I kept the earrings in my jewelry box as a keepsake.

When my granddaughter Anna began making earrings as a hobby, I asked her if she might help me find beads to match the missing ones. She worked her magic and made the earrings look the same as the day I bought them. It truly felt like a miracle. When I put on the earrings for the virtual book study that I wrote about last month, I was going to tell the story about having a potential family heirloom fixed by my granddaughter, showing how different generations can connect.


As the Zoom call began, I noticed that one of the earring strands was missing! How could I have lost it so soon after putting on the earrings? I told the participants the whole story and asked for prayers to St. Anthony (of course). I searched every inch of space in my apartment with a flashlight, going over the same spaces repeatedly. I was so sad.

The next day I sat on my bed and felt even worse. I finally had these earrings restored after so many years and within hours, I was back to square one. “C’mon, St. Anthony,” I prayed, “you have to find this for me!” Staring at the carpet, my eyes fell to the baseboard. Wait. What’s that? I got on my hands and knees and saw lodged between the edge of the carpet and the baseboard that one-inch strand of beads, blending perfectly into the color of the carpet. How in the world did that get there? It didn’t matter. It was found!

Are there any parallels to the three stories in Luke 15 about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the Prodigal Son? Perhaps. The earring that I lost in my car had meaning because I really loved the style and haven’t seen any like it since. The other pair had significant sentimental value because the earrings represented my hippie days, the places I wore them and the fact that my granddaughter Anna restored them to their original look.

She made them whole again, symbolically connecting my ‘60s youthfulness to my life now as grandma and spiritual director. She is the one I want to commend. The same year she fixed my earrings I had a challenging situation with her, so we sat down and talked. The next day, she said something surprising: “Grandma, do you know what I like about you? That we can have serious conversations.” Her comment of awareness and affirmation brought wholeness to our relationship, even beyond her restoration of an old pair of earrings.

Perhaps the woman who found her lost coin and the father who found his lost son and the Good Shepherd who found his lost sheep rejoiced, not only because they found what was once lost but because the finding restored wholeness to their lives. Trust me, that can make all the difference.

 (Kathy Berken is a spiritual director and retreat leader in St. Paul, Minnesota.)

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *